Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

I was impressed with this debut novel from Weir. It offers a penetrating look at a glitzy pastor and his family featured on a popular TV reality show. They look all put together in front of the cameras but there are devastating secrets being hidden. Being a Christian, I was concerned how Weir would handle this topic. I think she did a fine job and I appreciate how she handled all the issues.

Essie, the youngest in the pastor's family, is pregnant at seventeen. Similar to what I remember as a teen, no Christian family would want such news to be made public so a quick marriage is arranged. We know that something about the circumstances are odd because Essie does not have a boyfriend. She does have a future husband picked out. And that is only part of her plan.

The novel progresses through the personal viewpoints of three characters: Essie, Roarke, Essie's soon to be husband, and Libby, a television reporter Essie trusts. I had to remind myself at times from which viewpoint the action was being seen. But generally that technique worked out well. Libby's viewpoint was a good addition as she had lived through experiences that gave her insight into Essie's problem.

I do recommend this novel to readers who appreciate a plot that rips the covering off of family secrets. I like Weir's writing style and will be looking for more from her.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Meghan MacLean Weir was raised in the rectory of her father's church in Southbridge, Massachusetts, and later moved with her family to Buffalo, New York. Her memoir, Between Expectations: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency, chronicles her years in training at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children's Hospital. She continues to live and work as a physician in the Boston area. This is her first novel. Photo by Michael Lionstar.

Knopf, 336 pages. This novel releases June 12.

I received a complimentary advanced digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. #PRHpartner

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